It was at least 17 people Killed by rebels in eastern Congolocal authorities said on Monday.
The people were kidnapped while driving on a road and then killed by the Kodiko group in Djugo territory in Ituri province over the weekend, Colonel Reuven Mabila Mfinyama told the Associated Press by phone.
“They attacked three cars and took them to Becchi, their stronghold in the Wallendo Djazzi region. The (district) chief confirmed that they executed 17 people, including the drivers of the three cars,” he added.
Since the area is controlled by rebel militias, it is It is difficult to investigate what happenedMvinyama said.
Fighting between Kodiko, a loose association of various Lendu ethnic militias, and Zaire, a Hema ethnic group for self-defence, has been going on since 2017, but has recently worsened. At least 32 civilians were killed by CODECO last month, local officials say. in December, United nations He said the rebel group was expanding its areas of control, attacking civilians and the Congolese army, and taxing communities in the areas it controlled.
The killings come amid escalating violence across eastern Congo, where conflict has escalated for decades as more than 120 armed groups in the region fight, most for territory and control of valuable mineral mines, while some groups try to protect their communities.
In neighboring North Kivu province, the situation is deteriorating as the March 23 rebel movement, dormant for nearly a decade and resurgent at the end of 2021, continues to seize swathes of territory and kill civilians.
According to the United Nations, there are more than a million people in need of humanitarian aid in the provinces of North Kivu, Ituri and South Kivu. Militia groups in Ituri, such as CODECO and Allied Democratic ForcesThe United Nations, which is allied with the Islamic State group, said it was taking advantage of the government’s focus on the March 23 movement in North Kivu province causing large-scale displacements.
Local authorities are urging the Congolese government to send military reinforcements to secure roads in the area to allow people to travel freely.